Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Symbols of the Confederacy; The Flag

My take on the "flag flap";

My father was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I was born in Detroit (not technically, but I never saw that as an impediment to me making the entire metro/urban area my "stomping grounds").
Many of my neighbors were families from the South, that moved to Detroit for jobs after WW2.
We learned about the "civil war" like most school children do, and I NEVER saw a Confederate flag in real life until well into my late 20's, when I seen one in the front yard of a house in Monroe, Michigan; home of General Geo. A. Custer-the infamous UNION Indian killer.
Even then the irony did not escape me, and I wondered HOW they were able to fly such a flag.
A couple of years later a good friend told me about how the "war" was not fought over slavery, but over "State's rights", and how Lincoln knew the States had the right to secede, guaranteed by the Constitution, and that that part of the Constitution was never altered so the States still retained that right to this day. Plus, the issue of "slavery" wasn't introduced until late into the war in order to encourage others to join the fight.
I was leaning very much toward Libertarianism then, and this argument seemed to assuage my angst over this flag/symbol.
In the '90's there was again an uproar over this flag, and this time I took the time to research this topic to try to come to closure with it.

After due diligence I came to the conclusion that YES, the war was actually initiated much as he described.
YES, it was economics.
Yes, secession is protected under the Constitution.
But all-in-all, my angst was not misplaced; The "State's rights" and "economics issues" this war was fought over was the "right of these States" to keep humans as chattel, in order to benefit themselves "economically".

I had finally come to closure on this topic, but it didn't sit well with my old friend.
Returning for a moment back to General Custer;
My Mother was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
She was part Scot and part Chippewa.
She used to tell me about her people, their lives in poverty tar-shacks there, and why she left her homeland up North to find a better life in Detroit.
I loved to learn about the native peoples and their culture, and one of the things that stood out like a sore thumb was the use of the Swastika by the peoples of this area, and all over the world.
I found out that the Swastika was a very old, ancient even, symbol of peace an/or prosperity to MANY peoples of the globe.
So how had Hitler taken a symbol of peace and turned it into a symbol of horror, and why can't we just "take it back" to/for it's original purpose?

I know my "old friend" had his heart in the right place.
I know he was a good person. He didn't believe in slavery and he didn't hate the "union" that he lives(d) in; He was just honoring his "heritage" with the ONLY symbol his people had to hold onto.
It inspired him to be proud of "something", even if/when he had nothing else to be proud of.
I get that.

But the Flag had actually gone the way of the Swastika; They were now symbols of oppression and cruelty to millions of people who suffered under it's color.
And just like the Swastika, it too now had to be put away with the hope that at some later time in the future, at least ONE of these symbols will again be able to be lofted without pain, but with pride and goodwill.

Peace to you all.